By Tony J. Onaissi
We have been all wondering if the home health care and hospice providers are back growing fast following the devastating impact of the pandemic. As we’re having conversations about the state of the economy with friends and business leaders, most if not all of them assume that the industry is doing well because it is part of the healthcare eco system. Worst yet, they think that we have done well during the pandemic! Although some providers adapted to the Covid-19 crisis by creating Covid Care units, most home health care and hospice providers saw their referrals plummet like most other businesses.
In order to have an indicator of the post Covid state of the industry, we recently ran polls on LinkedIn asking “Are you getting as many referrals as you’d like “or “Are you satisfied with your workload” and the answers in both polls was over 50% “No”.
These preliminary results indicate that the post-acute care industry is not yet back on its feet and needs to invest in marketing and sales to reverse the trend and return to growth and profitability. It will be much faster for agencies that were able to retain their marketers during the pandemic as opposed to those who had to lay off staff to survive the crisis since all they have to do is resume contacting their usual referral sources and/or look for other sources to grow their referrals. Agencies that were forced to lay off marketers will have a slower path to recovery for obvious reasons related to hiring and training. In both cases getting enough referrals to return to positive territory and improving profit margins will require focused efforts to efficiently manage marketing and sales.
For that, a specialized sales CRM software can be of great help since it allows agencies to oversee the sales process and spend their precious time focusing efficiently on marketing. According to the Home Care Pulse Annual Benchmarking Study “only about one-fourth (22.5%) of agencies are currently using CRM, but the agencies that use CRMs make on average $200,000 more in annual revenue than the agencies that do not use a CRM.”
But first let’s define what a CRM is because most agencies are familiar with EHR systems but not with CRMs, since the latter is a must have to be in business while a CRM is very useful to have especially in those times. CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management and helps you manage the “relationship” between your sales people and referral sources. It gives management an ongoing oversight on all sales efforts by infield marketers, is usually cloud based and is used by home care agencies to keep track of their interactions with prospects and customers.
Most CRM systems also provide a standardized way to compare your marketers against each other, to grade their performance based on multiple metrics such as referrals, sales, calls, face-to-face visits, email, etc. Top tier CRM systems will let you customize the metrics you use to compare your reps against each other.
Marketing and sales require continuous and significant efforts and resources. CRMs automate the sales outcome and gives you a real-time view on your home care marketers who are trying to get more referrals, freeing up your time to marketing for home health.
Good luck selling!
Tony J. Onaissi is the founder and CEO of Isoratec, a home care technology company, and of Home Care Lebanon, a home health and home infusion business he founded in 1998. Contact Isoratec about CRM software at https://www.isoratec.com/